The concept of the deployment pipeline was defined and popularised by the 2010 book Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble and Dave Farley.
Deployment pipelines are a really key concept for modern software delivery – all changes flow through the deployment pipeline.
The fast feedback from deployment pipelines can and should completely change the way we approach software. We can expect rapid feedback on changes which encourages us to make smaller, more frequent code check-ins.
Value Stream Mapping can be a powerful way to uncover large wait times in the delivery flow.
A “walking skeleton” deployment pipelines – essentially modelling the current approval/change flow but with empty stages in a tool – helps us to sense-check the current state: “do we really need an approval gate at this point?”
Round-table discussions can be a really useful way to discover and share direct experience with peers and colleagues. A good round-table discussion is quietly facilitated by someone who knows the subject matter enough to include interesting questions and can ensure that everyone has a voice.
Here is what I have learnt from facilitating round-table discussions and watching others, too.
understand the participants
understand and prepare the topic under discussion
remember: this is not your platform
encourage quieter people
nudge the discussion to ensure all points are covered
The rest of this post goes into more detail on these points.
During 2018 I was Engineering Lead for Immigration Technology, part of the UK Home Office Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) area (contract). I helped to introduce practices from Continuous Delivery:
“As part of a drive with DDaT to adopt proven nimble approaches to software delivery, the Immigration Technology portfolio has moved towards Continuous Delivery practices for building and releasing software systems.“
I founded and helped to run the first PIPELINE Conference in 2014 and I have been part of the team that has run 5 of these events to date. Here are my thoughts on how to run a good tech conference based on my experience with PIPELINE and with other events I have attended and spoken at.